Posted by: Amy | September 26, 2010

September 25 – Jamey Johnson, Wild Bill’s, Atlanta

In 2008 Jamey Johnson released the critically acclaimed That Lonesome Song album and I was hooked. His throwback sound was a breath of fresh air and in contrast to most of the music played on contemporary country radio. I had the pleasure of seeing Jamey for the first time last year when he was headlining the CMT Tour. I’ve also seen him on the Rowdy Friends Tour, the Country Throwdown Tour and at BamaJam this year. In addition, I was in the audience at the CMT Awards when he delivered the soulful performance of “Macon” with the help of Little Big Town and Kate and Kacey Coppola. His shows that I saw earlier in the year featured songs from his newest release, The Guitar Song. I enjoyed all of the new songs that I heard and prior to the album’s release, I eagerly read critics’ glowing reviews. Since the album’s release on September 14, I don’t think that a day has gone by that I haven’t listened to it. It tops That Lonesome Song, which is quite a feat, as that is a phenomenal album.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Jamey’s tour schedule and I was excited to see an Atlanta date pop up a couple of months ago. I was even more excited when I realized that it was after the new album was scheduled for release, which meant that I would have a chance to familiarize myself with the songs prior to the show. Through a Facebook contest, I was able to win tickets to the show. Thanks to the kind folks at for the tickets! I invited my friend Christy to join me. My friend Rachel also made a last-minute decision to come out and join in the fun. We arrived at Wild Bill’s and got in line before the doors opened. We were surprised to see the number of fans who arrived early. Once we picked up our tickets at Will Call, we made our way into the bar and up to the stage. The set up was slightly different for this show than for any other show that I’ve seen at Wild Bill’s. There is a three or four-foot-wide area between the stage from the dance floor. A rail separates this area from the dance floor. Usually fans are allowed to stand in this section, but for Jamey’s show, the area was closed. Throughout the night professional photographers were allowed into the area to take pictures, but fans had to stand on the dance floor. We claimed a spot at the rail and didn’t move for the rest of the night because the place was packed.

Craig Wayne Boyd opened the show. I had previously seen him in Macon, GA when he opened for Brantley Gilbert. He played mostly originals at this show versus the predominantly cover-driven show in Macon. Following Craig was the Wayne Mills Band. He played a nearly hour-long set of outlaw country/southern rock flavored originals and mixed in a couple of covers, as well. Jamey’s guitar player, Jason “Rowdy J” Cope joined the band for the full set and Chris Powell, Jamey’s drummer, made an appearance on one song.

Around 11 p.m. Jamey finally took the stage and the crowd went nuts! The familiar sounds of “Released” the opening track on That Lonesome Song started playing and the band soon joined in with the opening bars of “The High Cost of Living.” Jamey casually walked onto the stage and picked up his guitar. The band rolled from one song right into the next. I don’t think that Jamey said a single word all night, he let the music speak for itself. There’s no glitz or glamour to Jamey Johnson’s live show. There’s nothing rehearsed about it. He and his band just play straight-ahead country music and spontaneously change the phrasing of songs or go into extended jams at-will. It’s a style that works for him and showcases his brilliantly written songs. He writes about some pretty heavy topics, but it’s also evident that he has a wicked sense of humor. I love to hear him play.


He’s very serious on stage and rarely smiles. I consider it a huge feat to get any pictures of him smiling. But during “Macon,” we were able to get several smiles and even a chuckle out of Jamey. The album version of the song features Kate and Kacey Coppola chiming in with a sultry delivery of the line “love all night” after Jamey sings that he’s “gotta get back to Macon.” Jamey’s all-male band probably couldn’t pull off the same delivery, so that part is omitted from the performance. However, the audience had clearly listened to the song enough to know about the “love all night” line and gladly provided this in response to Jamey. He was amused the first few times that it happened and by the end of the song, he was gesturing to the audience to sing the line. It was pretty funny. He had a smile of amazement during “In Color” when the audience took over the singing duties. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. To have an audience sing your song back to you must be the most amazing feeling as a songwriter. He closed the show with a a lively version of Hank Williams Sr’s “I Saw the Light.” As the band played the ending of the song, Jamey waved to the crowd and left the stage with as little fanfare as when he had arrived. He played for nearly an hour and a half, but it felt like it was only fifteen minutes. What a fun night of great, traditional country music.




I was obsessed with Jamey before the show and I’m even more so now. His vocal and songwriting talents amaze me! The man is a genius! I’m already looking forward to seeing him again, hopefully sooner rather than later! And thanks to Christy, I got a special souvenir from the show. She found a JJ guitar pick on the floor as we were walking out and she was kind enough to give it to me.



Jamey’s Set List

  • Released/The High Cost of Living
  • Lonely at the Top
  • Cover Your Eyes
  • Poor Man Blues
  • Playing the Part
  • Can’t Cash My Checks
  • Heartache
  • Mental Revenge
  • Even the Skies Are Blue
  • By the Seat of Your Pants
  • Baby Don’t Cry
  • Thankful for the Rain
  • Macon
  • My Favorite Memory (Merle Haggard)
  • Tulsa Time (Don Williams)
  • Write Your Own Songs (Willie Nelson)
  • That Lonesome Song
  • Between Jennings and Jones
  • Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way
  • In Color
  • I Saw the Light (Hank Williams, Sr.)

Here’s the whole photo album from the show.

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